Nevada gaming revenue hasn’t been pretty for months. Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered casinos and video poker bars to close in March to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. This led to a couple of months with dismal blacked-out gaming revenue reports.
While casinos were closed, there were only four Nevada sportsbook apps and one poker website generating gaming revenue for the state. However, casinos have reopened and are beginning to generate revenue again.
Nevada gaming revenue in June
Nevada gaming revenue is down year-over-year, but it’s coming back as casinos were able to reopen in June. Casinos in the Silver State officially reopened their doors on June 4.
There are plenty of differences in the casinos today. The big change for gaming revenue is the limited capacity at video poker and slot machines, table games, and at bars.
The 50% capacity limits can be seen in the gaming revenue for the month. Nevada casinos won $566.8 million in the 27 days the properties were open in June. According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board monthly revenue report for June, the amount of money wagered in the state was down 45.5% from the same period last year.
Nevada casinos won $1.04 billion in June 2019.
Unsurprisingly, the tourist-heavy Vegas Strip saw a larger percentage drop than local casinos. The casinos on the Strip reported gaming revenues of $238.2 million. That’s a decrease of 61.3% compared to 2019 when these casinos collected $616.6 million.
Casinos in other districts still had losses, but they were smaller. For example, Reno only saw an 8.5% drop from revenue reported in 2019.
Downtown Las Vegas is mostly a tourist destination but also serves local residents. This part of Nevada saw a slightly smaller drop than the Strip. Casinos in downtown Las Vegas saw a decrease of 55.56% from the same period last year.
Rough month for sportsbooks
It’s always fun to look at the games where casinos win and lose the most and least money for the month. Unlike the previous two months, the report looks like normal. Casinos won the most money from the over 43,000 penny slots in Nevada. That’s more than all other denominations (nickel, quarter, $1 and up) of slot machines combined.
Nevada casinos' June net win:
Penny slots $174.7 million
Blackjack $54.5 million
Baccarat $47.5 million
Craps $19.9 million
Roulette $16.5 million
[Source: Nevada Gaming Control Board]
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) July 29, 2020
Nevada sportsbooks lost money for the first time since July 2013. The $548,000 loss for June 2020 ends the state’s 83-month long streak of winning over bettors.
The year-over-year loss can be chalked up to brick-and-mortar casinos being open. Bettors didn’t have a chance to collect winning wagers from tickets on bets made inside casinos while they were closed.
The major culprit for this loss is from football. Bettors won $5.2 million from football wagers that weren’t collected before casinos closed. Now that most bettors have collected outstanding winning tickets, it won’t be a surprise to see Nevada sportsbooks start a new winning streak against bettors in July.
Nevada sports betting revenue falling behind
Nevada sports betting revenue is beginning to fall behind states that have recently legalized sports betting. States like New Jersey and Pennsylvania have a larger population, so this isn’t entirely surprising.
The states also have much more customer-friendly mobile sports betting app registration procedures.
These are both evident in the sports betting revenue for the second quarter. Nevada is the most mature sports betting market, but its in-person account registration is helping newer states shine.
- New Jersey: $337 million
- Pennsylvania: $212 million
- Nevada: $134 million
Nevada has offered mobile sports betting apps for a decade. Unlike New Jersey and Pennsylvania, players must visit a casino to set up and fund an account for the first time. While there’s mobile funding available afterward, it comes with a processing fee, unlike the other states with online and mobile sports betting.
Nevada may never catch up to those states because of its much smaller population. However, allowing bettors to register and fund accounts via mobile will help it stay closer to the new competition.
Additionally, the state could use a way to generate more tax revenue since it lost six weeks of income from its biggest taxpayers — casinos.